The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Sunset Limited is a “novel in dramatic form”. It’s a play. It’s a conversation by two men about life and death.
The two characters are simply called Black and White. Black is an ex-con now born again Christian who is on a mission to help people. Even though he is surrounded by evil, darkness, and despair he has hope for his life and for those around him. White is a well educated professor who has no hope for his own life or those around him. He is empty and cares for nothing. His education and philosophy have brought him to a point where he sees everything as meaningless, including his own life. White is suicidal.
The conversation begins after Black saves White from jumping in front of a moving train. Black works his best to figure out what White is thinking and what has made him suicidal and what he can say to change his mind. For every attempt made by Black to do so, White has a well thought out, intelligent, despairing reason to remain hopeless.
The book is a good commentary on western philosophical thought, which has no room for God, and having lasting faith in dark places.
HBO made a film based on this book. See the preview below.